Ever since I decided to be a YA author, I've watched the teenagers around me more closely. I love them. (Most of the time.) I love watching the way they interact with each other and listening to the way they speak with each other.
I took advantage of the opportunity to immerse myself in teenage culture this weekend, when I judged an all day high school speech competition. LOVED IT. Really.
But, adults look at me and ask, "Why would you want to do that? Do you get paid? Do you get to judge your own kids?"
1. In the past I have been paid a significant amount of money to speak in front of audiences of 600+ people. I love public speaking. (Freak of nature?) And, so I really enjoy judging younger people who are striving to improve their own public speaking skills. I love writing comments and advice that will hopefully help them. But, besides that, I love watching youth. I feel like I'm conducting research for my writing.
2. I don't get paid monetarily, but I feel I get paid in other ways. I feel very rewarded "giving back" and I feel like I am accomplishing a lot of research! ha.
3. I don't get to judge my own kids. DaRn It! I am actually not allowed to judge anyone from my children's high school. Keeps it all on the "up and up!" However, I'm thrilled to tell you that my youngest (14) placed sixth in her speech category and my middle child (16) placed first in his speech category. So, that was great fun (and very rewarding) to watch them receive their awards at the end of the competition. YAY.
If you're a writer - what do you do to immerse yourself into the culture of your chosen genre? Do you work with teenagers (YA Writers)? Do you visit the morgue (Mystery Writers)? Shop a lot (Women's Fiction)? Okay - kidding on that last one (kind of )... let me know what you do for your research!
This post went a different direction than I originally intended, so be sure to check back tomorrow when I post about the BOOKS I have to read now because of one of the speech rounds.